I recieved this question yesterday on the Foundation Red Myspace account thought it would hit home with other people.
A young man writes:
I really need some advice on something involving praise and worship leading..
If you remember, I play in our praise and worship band, and I (along with others) have noticed that the mindset of the band is: "I don't care, I'm just here because I signed up." I don't mean to judge their hearts, it just seems that when we practice, it's a mad rush to finish as quick as possible and to keep it as simple as possible...and the music produced reflects that. It's not terrible, but it's definitely not the best we could do...especially not when we're playing to worship God...
I guess what I'm asking is this: have you ever encountered something like this with Foundation Red or any other project? if so, what did you do?
I'll keep on praying about it...In the meantime, thanks!
Let me encourage you by applauding your desire to bring your best to Jesus through your own personal art. He gave it to you and you should give it back. I want to challenge you to stay involved and giving to the local church. The Church is the bride of Christ even when the music is not produced up to the level we think it should be.
Here is a perspective change that might bring more joy to your experience in serving right now. We must realize that there will be a dynamic range of music ability in the places where we serve. If we are there to edify, (serve, encourage and lift up) the body of Christ then your focus should not be to personally fulfill your musical desires. We do need to corporately bring an offering to God that costs us something. This is a matter of dying to one's self. Look at it this way. If you are putting in personal practice time and increasing your ability to bring a better offering then that is pleasing to the Lord. When you show up only to find that others are not where you are technically at when it comes to understanding music you have a choice to make. You can be upset that they have not met your requirements to participate in the Churches corporate celebration time or you can let your example quietly shine. You can choose to then help them during the time they have come to give, making it the best it can be.
Here is an illustration I use often with this question. On a scale of one to ten let's say that you have the potential to play at a "7" as far as musical ability goes. Let's say for the sake of the illustration that the people you are frustrated with are only bringing a "3" to the table. Your desire is for everyone to be at a "7" with you because that would just be a blast right? I believe God is calling you to help the group arrive together over time at a "5".
I have seen this situation play out so many times in ministry my friend. A talented musician gets frustrated with the leader, the system, politics, style and removes themselves from the community of artists at a local church. I rarely see God bless this type of attitude. However, I have witnessed countless examples where a young musician submits and serves where God has placed them. These individuals are blessed with an extra portion of ability, leadership and wisdom to eventually have their desire to play with other talented musicians on professional stages. More importantly they have learned the lesson of being apart of the larger community of the Church. Remember that God is the giver of all our creative gifts. He gives them to bless the Church. When we take possession for whatever reason of these gifts ourselves no good comes from it.
On a final practical note I would say if you are seeing areas where more organization could take place to make the overall worship service better then I would say that should be interpreted as the Holy Spirit telling you to do those things necessary that you see to prepare the whole group. Take the initiative within the system your leaders have established, to serve. I mention this because I sensed that you were representing the "feelings" of others in the band as well. Musicianship can be an aspect of one's worship before the Lord. If you have a leader that is bottlenecking the groups music ability I would pose some questions about what that leader sees as necessary in your life to allow some more freedom to you during the corporate assembly time of your youth group.
I hope this helps. Every time I write a message like this I am reminded of the recurring phrase in Matthew, "he who has ears to hear, let them hear."